Eastern versus Western Honor & Shame

Every human society cares about honor and shame but not all in the same way. Westerners think they are different, but they simply seek to achieve it more than ascribe it. [Read more…]

Is Christ’s reputation lost on the church?

“Face” is a matter of life and death. Just ask Lance Armstrong and anyone fighting against cancer. In 2012, Armstrong admitted to doping his way to cycling history. In 2011, the “Lance Armstrong Foundation” (which raised funds to fight cancer) had $47 million dollars in revenue and around 90 full time employees. In 2010, it [Read More…]

If We Say Chinese Have No Sin, We Deceive Ourselves

It began last summer. I awoke to read an email suggesting that Danny Hsu’s article is “now required reading for all who work among Chinese.” Hsu is a sound scholar of Chinese history. So, I read with curiosity. According to Hsu, I (and others) “question the compatibility between Chinese culture and the idea of sin.”[1] [Read More…]

Check out “The Good News for Honor-Shame Cultures”

In the recent March 2017 issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, you’ll find an excellent article from my good friend, Jayson Georges. The article is short but very full. It explains… (1) the meaning of honor & shame, (2) how honor & shame is a feature of God’s mission,  (3) how honor & shame equips us [Read More…]

Which box do you belong in?

Humans always identify with groups. This is natural and good. Everyone simultaneously is an “insider” and an “outsider.” The former tends to bring honor; the latter shame. But few people recognize the pervasive power of group identity on their daily life, moral judgments, assumptions, sense of worth, and ways of doing ministry. We seemingly think [Read More…]

Students “borrow points” to pass test

Here are a few noteworthy articles reflecting on contemporary Chinese culture. 1. “Teachers Loan Students Points to Pass Exams” I think you’ll like this one. It’s Chinese ingenuity at its best. Wang Yiwei explains that a high school in Nanjing has implemented a system that allows pupils to boost low grades by borrowing marks on future tests. The [Read More…]

Why collectivists grow rice and individualists grow wheat

One of my favorite books is Richard Nisbitt’s Geography of Thought, where he surveys many social and psychological studies tracing the difference between Eastern and Western thinking. He also considers the historical origins of each perspective. Accordingly, I was glad to see a recent BBC article touching on similar themes. It’s call “How East and [Read More…]

Honor and Shame in Judgment

If you emphasize honor and shame, does this mean that you need to minimize the theme of “judgment” in the Bible? Absolutely not. Unfortunately, some people have that impression. They seem to think that judgment is a legal idea and so unrelated to honor and shame. In this post, I’ll show you a number of [Read More…]

Honor and Shame are Objective (Not Merely Subjective)

Many Christians think honor and shame are simply subjective categories. The Bible disagrees. Scripture uses the concepts of honor-shame to convey objective realities. Unfortunately, this observation often gets overlooked. In recent weeks and months, I’ve seen this time and time again. I regularly receive push-back from people who think shame and honor are nothing more [Read More…]

Responding to “White Privilege” in Missions

How do we practically respond to “white privilege”? We first considered how to talk about the issue and then how we should understand the “white privilege” from a Christian perspective. I suggested we need to focus on how to use one’s privileges (whatever they might be) in order to help others enjoy the same opportunities. [Read More…]